The League Management Company says it has granted a plea by the Management of troubled Heartland FC of Owerri to be given until January 25, 2022 to settle the salary arrears owed some of its players, officials and non-technical staff.
Spokesperson of the LMC, Mr. Harry Iwuala stated this in chat with Radio Nigeria’s Chinedum Ohanusi who has been keeping tabs on the Protest by some players of the club who claimed they are owed as many as nine months salaries, allowances and bonuses by the club, owned by the Imo State Government.
According to Mr. Iwuala the LMC upon receiving series of complains, which are also made public in the media, it wrote the management of Heartland FC on January 7, and gave them four days to clear all such indebtedness to players and officials; and include in their response, documents that show evidences of actual payments.
Rather than comply with the LMC directive, Heartland on January 11, wrote to the Chief Operating Officer of the League Management Company, Mallam Salihu Abubakar and asked to be given 14 days to clear all the debts owed players, and other employees of the club.
Asked how Heartland FC was cleared to register to play this season, when the LMC and NFF claimed that all NPFL teams complied with the FIFA and CAF Club Licensing regime; the LMC Spokesman said the club was registered because they brought licensing forms signed by the players.
It is however unclear if the said signatures were forged or the players were made some unfulfilled promises by the club, before their signed the dotted lines, out of naivety or desperation.
According to him, players are required to sign registration forms that amongst other conditions require them to confirm they are not owed by the club.
While waiting for the January 25 deadline day fixed by Heartland FC, the Commissioner for Sports in the State Dan Chike Ogu added a twist in the matter by telling reporters in Owerri that only Ghost Players were protesting unpaid salary.
Should Heartland fail to amicably resolve this impasse which has gone viral on the Social Media, they would have contravened Rule C 15 of the NPFL Guidelines; and the LMC must suspend them from the League, and impose other far reaching sanctions on the club.